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Blogging, Health and That Darn Zine – swell

Blogging, Health and That Darn Zine

Garden Salad with Annies Sesame Shiitake Vinaigrette

Galactic Pizza: Garden Salad with Annie's Sesame Shiitake Vinaigrette

So it’s been a while, compared to my earlier gusto this month.  Today I’m sitting inside after calling into work because I went through a procedure that’s made me extremely sun-sensitive and embarrassingly and painfully inflamed.  I don’t often talk about myself on my blog this personally, but as someone who struggles between trying to treat my health naturally and feeling pressured into the “quick fixes” of Western medicine, I am often left thinking about how my food choices affect my emotional and physical self, and whether I am making the right decisions sometimes about buying pills or supplements or paying a doctor to effectively put a band-aid on situations that I may have let get out of control for too long.

Tiramisu from Nonnas Italian Kitchen

Tiramisu from Nonna's Italian Kitchen

At times I feel I have an unhealthy relationship with this blog.  Well, maybe not unhealthy, but I find myself making and photographing food by myself in order to avoid the awkwardness of being the home cook/hostess and food blogger at the same time (although I claim to know very little about photography, the better pictures I take involve a lot of time!).  I put a personal pressure on myself sometimes to post the best, most unique, most decadent, newest etc etc creation or picture that I am capable of.  This isn’t my job though – I work a full-time job, I volunteer once a week, and I’m just a little vegan lady with no professional experience photographically or culinarily.  I’m not looking to be the vegan Martha Stewart.  Most importantly, this goes against the main reason I started cooking in the first place: being with and cooking with or for the people I love.  Maybe I’m feeling prematurely old, or veganism has changed the way I relate to my body, but I didn’t always pay attention to how healthy my cooking was(n’t), and lately my body feels like I’m slipping a lot in my eating habits.  I don’t use nutrition analysis software or anything to determine this, but I know I haven’t been doing my best to make cooking (and sometimes baking) a healthy activity in my life as well as a people-oriented one.

Chocolate Pasta with Wild Mushroom Sauce from Nonnas Italian Kitchen

Chocolate Pasta with Wild Mushroom Sauce from Nonna's Italian Kitchen

My partner and I have our own sets of health or emotional issues that conflict with wanting to feel total freedom in what we eat.  Sometimes it feels like we are constantly on opposite sides of a healthy-hedonistic spectrum – and neither of us is always the health-conscious and the other the hedonist.  Our roles change a lot.  Through our years of being together, though, we have influenced each other in positive ways: I’ve nearly erased any desire for boxed pre-seasoned couscous or chili mix and invited her into the amazing world of kale, and she has gotten me buying only whole grain breads and brown rice and reminding me to eat more fresh fruit.  My endeavors have not always been met with acceptance, though: my becoming vegan freaked her out a bit (she’s still a vegetarian, but rarely eats non-vegan things at home) and she still seems afraid that I’m “going to go raw on her” (no plans for that!).

Isas Pumpkin Pie Brownies

Isa's Pumpkin Pie Brownies

So what all this blabber is about, if you’re still reading right now, is that I’m making a concerted effort to make healthier food for us and have her (and other people) be more a part of the process.  I know I’m not all cookies and white pasta and vegan mayo all the time anyway, but you’ll probably see less sweets from me here from now on, and hopefully more colorful and healthier recipes (as far as the colder winter months will allow).  There are a couple of exceptions of course (holiday dinners and birthdays), but for the most part, I’m going to reduce my sugar, wheat/gluten, alcohol, caffeine, and soy, and get down with the fresh fruits and veggies, beans and legumes, and seasonal produce.  All still with nice doses of spices and herbs, healthy fats, and tasty vitamins and minerals that I’ve been replacing with coffee and vegan muffins in lieu of breakfast and lunch.

Vegan Pizza Bianca from Galactic Pizza

Vegan Pizza Bianca from Galactic Pizza

Now, about the last part of my post.  For those of you who have been following this blog for awhile, you know that I’ve procrastinated a ridiculously long time on a cookzine I’ve been working on.  I wish I had more concrete answers than it’s still happening… Moving and some new direction halted things a bit.  I felt I was pressuring myself to do too much for a first-time zine, so I’m in the process of streamlining, and working on a couple different simple recipes (testers, be on the lookout!) in addition to typing it all up and designing it and printing it.  Completing semi-large projects has never been one of my strong suits, and the anticipation and fears about sharing it with other people is also a bit scary.  But it will get done, even if it’s been far too long since I first mentioned it.

In conclusion, healthy food=good and zine=happening.  And here is a lovely fall photo for those of you who don’t get to experience it (I grew up in San Diego, I know what I’m talking about):

Fall on 28th St.

Fall on 28th St.

18 Responses to “Blogging, Health and That Darn Zine”

  1. Courtney says:

    I am excited to see your healthier recipes, and wish you the best of luck on your new direction. It can be hard to make big changes, but I am sure you will notice a big difference in how you are feeling, which is awesome motivation! I will look forward to your future posts :o )

    That photo of the tree is gorgeous! I love fall…we have had such a beautiful fall this year too. The weather has been great!


  2. i’m looking forward to the zine and your healthy recipes. I know what you mean about pressure. It can be tough to figure out what’s good enough in the context of all the competing activities. Hope you are better soon from the medical procedure!

  3. Liz² says:

    I know that swinging balance between health and hedonism! I can’t wait to see what you come up with on the healthy side (and I hope it’s made in relaxation, too, cause life is more precious than blogs…. yes I said it XD).

  4. JohnP says:

    I am so glad to know the zine is coming along. In times like these, the world really needs your quinoa recipe! (I cannot tell you how many times we have made it. I have lost count!)

  5. eatavegan says:

    I feel like this is a perfect time to say this: I absolutely love your blog (and your beautiful time-consuming pictures!). Looking forward to the zine, and thanks for all your recipes, healthy or unhealthy — they are all appreciated.

  6. Perhaps I’m biased, but that Vegan Bianca Pizza looks so good! :-)

    As for eating healthy, it looks like you already eat pretty healthy. You do a lot of raw on the blog and I rarely see sweets. But then again, you probably don’t post everything you eat. I know I sure don’t! But I commend you making such a concerted effort to cut the bad stuff out of your diet. Good luck! And I eagerly await the zine!

  7. Vegannifer says:

    I wish you all the best in your new health endeavors (but I agree with Bianca in that you always seemed to post about healthy foods!).

    Good luck on the zine! Can’t wait until it’s done!

  8. Yay for healthy food & yay for the zine!

  9. Melisser says:

    Sounds like a good direction to go, I’m trying to do the same.

  10. LX says:

    HOORAY! Cheers all around. You know we support you always in whatever you choose to do. I am glad the zine is still on!

  11. Agnes =)) says:

    HEY HEY!!!

    SO glad to see your post again !!

    I know what you mean…and….I’m really LOOKING FORWARD to all the great things you’ll come up with!!!!!!!!!! =D

    YAY for changes in Life!!!!

    And well…the fall photo is cool!!!!! =DD

    If you’d like /have time please take a look at my blog ok?? I’ll be happY for a comment!!!!! =DD

    (there are some fall pictures too =DD !!)

    Enjoy your time!!!!!!

  12. Megan says:

    Yeah, you need to email me so I can get in on the tiramisu.

  13. maria says:

    great blog. there’s so much inspiration, it makes me droool…

    + love the pictures. they look great. not too many veganfood-blogs, or foodblogs overall got nice pics, so keep it up!

  14. Celine says:

    we don’t need another Martha anyway. we want you, your fantastic pictures, and wonderful recipes. so there.

  15. veganjay says:

    I look forward to all your posts! I am glad that you are back! All of your food that you posted look so so good!!!

  16. DJ says:

    nice post, nice pics, nice to see you back. Looking forward to seeing your new dishes.

  17. bazu says:

    I so hear you and what you’re saying about blogging. I sometimes wonder if my blog is the best or the unhealthiest thing about my life! It certainly reflects where I am in my life, sanity, and relationship to food at any given time, though! Anyway, your blog is one of the best. I hope you find the best way to balance everything for you, and still give us the eye candy that this blog is known for!

  18. kkeithnr says:

    Excellent post. And they say vegan food isn’t good…what are they thinking…

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